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Introducing New Talent: Francesca Paolini

Written By Sophie Holt.


Here at Manchester Craft and Design Centre we love supporting new, emerging talent – after all we know how hard it can be to get your feet off the ground. At our recent March Maker Meet-Up we invited makers from all disciplines of craft and design to chat with us about their work and share their portfolio. It was fascinating to see such an array of fresh talent and this made our job of choosing a winner to be featured on our website all the more difficult. Over the next week we will be introducing you to three of our favourite fresh faces.


This post is dedicated to one of the winners, Manchester based ceramicist Francesca Paolini.

When we met Italian-born Francesca we were instantly intrigued by her unique ceramic pieces. Her work is inspired by her heritage and in particular her hometown Elba, a rocky island off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. The ceramic vessels she creates are layered with a sand glaze which explore the dynamic geology of the beautiful coast line of Elba. The sand used in the glaze is in fact sand from the island, collected on her many trips back home – providing a direct link between the craft and her cultural background. The combination of the use of self sourced material, link to traditional local trade and the over all contemporary feel to her ceramics made her work stand out from the crowd.





Hello Francesca! Tell us a little bit about your craft and how you started making.

‘I discovered the world of ceramics when I started my degree in 3-Dimensional Design at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015. Through great university facilities and advice, I have developed throughout these 3 years, skills that are predominantly based in plaster model/mold making and slip casting, and work in a range of different slips from dark to red and white, porcelain, is my favourite!’


What inspires you and your work?

‘I am inspired by artists such as Adam Buick and Dutch studio Atelier NL who both work with the landscape and source materials they add to their work, I also like to communicate through my work specific sites and locations, exploring personal attachment, cultures, traditions and identities, including materials that allow a sense of place to come through the individual objects.’


What is your dream project?

‘My dream project is to develop my work to a wider scheme, including different areas of the world while getting the public involved, so that the surrounding landscape can be socially appreciated from a different perspective. Feeling at one with locations we identify ourselves with, is a relationship I like to translate through making and being able to transmit this to others through their emotional attachments, would be an awarding achievement.’


Why do you think its important to promote and encourage local artists and designers?

‘Sharing art is mind opening and culturally enriching, it is an infinite way of translating to others personal thoughts and feelings whilst valuing skills and talent.Centres such as the Manchester Craft and Design Centre are great places through which local artist can be promoted, where creativity is encouraged and shared.’




If you want to find out more about Francesca’s work you can visit her website and Instagram linked below. You can also view her work (and the work of many other talented creatives) at the  Manchester School of Art Degree Show open to the public from 9th June 2018.

Instagram: @francescapaolini_ceramica